Pratt's influence on politicians
I'm feeling particularly good about my work on Pratt, because it turns out GOA has also given to a candidate my parents are fighting in New Jersey. If you want to help take the House away from Tom Delay, give to Anne Wolfe in the form at the right. Scott Garrett sucks, and he takes money from people who really suck. I'm going to wrap up some of the Pratt research and bone up on John Tanton and some immigration extremists. I feel like I understand where that all connects to Pratt-style extremism, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I want to conclude with some stories about Pratt's other candidates over the years. From the same PDF source I quoted in my last post:
Pratt cannot be written off as a fringe extremist. He is a practiced politician who regularly lobbies Congress against gun control. The Capitol Hill newspaper, ROLL CALL, called him “almost a shadow congressman.” The Gun Owners of America Inc. Political Victory Fund contributed to 46 GOP House and Senate campaigns in 1994. Ideologues of the far-right such as Pratt have never been far beneath the surface of the militant wing of the anti-choice movement. In 1990, when Randall Terry took Operation Rescue “underground” to avoid paying court-ordered judgments, Pratt came to his aid. The crisis began when federal agents seized O.R.‘s bank accounts in December 1989. 0.R violated an injunction not to block New York City clinics, then refused to pay a $50,000 tine. One of Terry’s aides met Larry Pratt at a “rescue” movement meeting and asked for his assistance. Pratt’s Committee to Protect the Family Foundation raised nearly $150,000 to pay O.R.‘s bills, without O.R. ever holding the money.
One infamous candidate was Steve Stockman. He had been unable to hold a job before winning a House seat from Texas as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution. In office, Stockman didn't accomplish much, but he sure was involved in gun rights fights. (Incidentally, he was a member of the Council for National Policy, blogged last time.) Pratt sent out an alert to GOA claiming Stockman was going to remove the Assault Weapons Ban from a crime bill. According to this article from Roll Call (the source of the “shadow Congressman quote above):
The Gun Owners letter was sent without Stockman's approval, former aides said. It backed him into a corner. The issue was resolved when Armey called Stockman and Pratt to his office to explain that he would not endanger the contract by bringing up such controversial legislation. According to sources who were in the meeting, Pratt--not Stockman--did most of the talking. Stockman said last week he did not recall the meeting and denied that Pratt was behind his attempt to force an early vote to repeal the ban.
Later, Pratt got Stockman to write Attorney General Reno, warning her off of investigations into militia groups. This was based on a tip from Soldier of Fortune magazine and the NRA.
Touching briefly on the theme of Christian Reconstruction and theocracy that motivates Pratt, there are these other choice quotes from the article:
Pratt asserted that gun rights are ”not a political issue. This is something that comes first and foremost from Scripture. What I see in Scripture is not that we have a right to keep and bear arms, but that we have a responsibility to do so.“ ... Pratt quoted Exodus: ”If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.“ It is immoral to fail to defend oneself, since man is made in the image of God, Pratt argued.